To:

The Hon. John Gardner, MP
Minister for Education

This annual report will be presented to parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011 (SA) and Public Sector Act 2009 (SA) and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Education Standards Board by:

John Dawkins
Presiding Member

Date: 28 August 2019 Signature:John Dawkins

From the Presiding Member of the Board

John Dawkins photo

John Dawkins
Presiding Member
Education Standards Board

I am very pleased to present the Education Standards Board 2018-2019 annual report.

Following a few years of significant change for the organisation, this year has been focused on consolidation. I am pleased to report that our work this year has contributed to maintaining and enhancing the quality of South Australian providers.

High-quality school education and early childhood education and care are central to our work. It is what every child deserves and what families and the South Australian community expect. 

We have bedded down our contemporary regulatory approach. This approach is risk-based, focused on continuous improvement and supports the education and care and schooling sectors. We have achieved this while not overburdening providers and schools with unnecessary regulation and ensuring our regulatory responses are appropriate. 

Our registration reviews of government and non-government schools continue to show that schools are not only meeting the required standards but are proudly showcasing examples of innovation and best practice. This is a fantastic illustration of South Australia's high-quality education system.

Nationally, our state has the highest percentage of early childhood services rated as Exceeding the National Quality Standard. We continue to work closely with services that are still Working Towards this standard. This year 82% of our early childhood services are Meeting NQS or above.

There are many contributors to high-quality schooling and early childhood education and care. Our goal has always been to work with the education sectors by fostering respectful partnerships and promoting the National Quality Framework for the early childhood providers. 

Finally, I would like to acknowledge board members and the efforts of Education Standards Board employees for all their hard work during the year. This work supports children and young people in South Australia to have access to high-quality education, care and early childhood services.

John Dawkins Signature

John Dawkins
Presiding Member
Education Standards Board

Contents

Overview: about the agency

Our strategic focus

Our purpose

To approve, register and regulate school education and early childhood services to improve outcomes for children and young people

Our vision

Children and young people in South Australia have access to high-quality education, care and early childhood services

Our values


The Education Standards Board upholds the public sector values through its decisions, actions and interactions. In addition, we are committed to our values:

  • integrity

  • professionalism

  • improvement

  • consultation

  • accountability.

Our functions, objectives and deliverables

We are an independent regulatory agency responsible for the registration and review of schools and regulation and quality assessment of education and care services in South Australia.

Our objectives are:

  • to promote the provision of high-quality education and care services from early childhood to senior schooling

  • to support best possible outcomes for children

  • to give families confidence in a diverse range of schools and education and care services

  • to minimise the regulatory burden for schools and service providers.

Our strategic priorities are to:

  • regulate the early childhood and schooling sectors using a contemporary risk- and standards-based approach

  • continue positive engagement with stakeholders

  • build a high-performing organisation by supporting our people and improving our business.


Our organisational structure

Our organisational structure

Changes to the agency

During 2018–19 there were no changes to the agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or machinery of government changes.

Minister for Education

John Gardner

John Gardner
Minister for Education

John Gardner has represented the seat of Morialta, in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs and near-hills townships, since 2010. He is a member, sponsor or patron of a wide range of local community, sporting and service organisations in his electorate.

The Hon. John Gardner was appointed Minister for Education after the March 2018 state election, having previously served as shadow minister in this portfolio since January 2016. He is also the Leader of Government Business in the South Australian House of Assembly.

Our executive team

Our executive team

Standing (L-R): Lynette Bellwood, Anna Cheung, Steve Green and Mel Watson

Seated (L-R): Chris Chatburn and Beverley-Anne Lawton

Chris Chatburn is the Chief Executive/Registrar, responsible for leading the organisation in regulating and quality assuring the early childhood services and for the registration of schools (government and non-government) in South Australia.

Lynette Bellwood is the Manager, Schools Registration Services, responsible for leading her team to register and review all schools (government and non-government) and recommend schools for registration and renewal of registration on CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students).

Anna Cheung is the Manager, Corporate Services, responsible for leading her team to provide strategic and operational financial management, human resource management and information technology.

Steve Green is the Manager, Regulatory Policy and Strategy, responsible for leading the organisation in overseeing our regulatory action framework, risk identification and mitigation strategies.

Beverley-Anne Lawton is the Senior Manager, Compliance and Investigations, responsible for leading her team to manage the non-compliance of education and care services and investigate complaints about early childhood services.

Mel Watson is the Senior Manager, Early Childhood Regulatory Operations, responsible for leading the Early Childhood Services team to approve and monitor all education and care services in South Australia and assess and rate these services (which include preschools, long day care and out-of-school-hours care and family day care) against the National Quality Standard.

Legislation administered by the agency

As a designated state authority, we also assess and recommend schools for registration on CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students) in line with Commonwealth legislation:

Other related agencies (within the minister's area/s of responsibility)

The Department for Education interacts with the Education Standards Board in a number of ways. This department provides the policy lead for South Australia in relation to the National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care. Policy translates into our regulatory responsibilities. The Department for Education is also the major approved provider of regulated education and care services, operating the third largest number of services of any provider in Australia.

The Teachers Registration Board (TRB) also relates to the Education Standards Board. Long day care, preschool services and schools are all required to employ registered teachers. The TRB determines who can be registered as a teacher or fill a teacher’s position in these services.

The SACE Board of South Australia is another agency associated with ours. The SACE Board is notified when schools have been approved to extend year levels, registered to provide education services that include Year 10 to 12 or of new schools registered up to Year 12.

The agency’s performance

Performance at a glance

This year all eligible education and care services were assessed and provided a rating against the National Quality Standard (NQS). At 30 June 2019, 99.3% of eligible South Australian services had a rating, with 82% either Meeting or Exceeding the NQS. The NQS is important as it drives quality and continuous improvement in children’s education and care.

Our focus this year has been to increase our support to services rated as Working Towards the NQS. We have achieved this by increasing and expanding our educative focus, including customised engagement sessions and more frequently visiting services to support their understanding of the requirements. The number of services that now meet or exceed the standard has increased. In total, 139 services have improved their quality rating since 1 July 2018.

One of our main goals as an organisation is to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children. So it has been gratifying to see that, with support and education, many more services have reached this level.

Reviewing schools registration against the Standards for registration and review of registration continued to be a focus throughout the 2018–2019 year. A selection of government and non-government schools were identified for review, and all schools were verified as meeting the Standards. On completion of the process, principals were invited to participate in an online survey. In total, 53% responded and confirmed that the review process was valuable and an opportunity to ensure that the key requirements for any school are in place and current and relevant.

Agency contribution to whole-of-government objectives

Key objective

Agency’s contribution

Better services

The Education Standards Board registers schools and approves and monitors early childhood services to ensure high standards of competence and conduct by providers. Parents and guardians have access to a diverse range of quality education and early childhood services, and the public can have confidence in the operation of these services.

Agency specific objectives and performance

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Approve early childhood providers and services that meet the legislative requirements


  • Applications processed within legislated time frames


Thirty-five applications for provider approval and 64 applications for service approval were approved in this period. Of these, 99.8% were finalised within legislated time frames.

New services are approved in a timely manner to ensure providers can commence operation as soon as practicable and families have a choice from a diverse range of approved services to meet their particular needs.

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Monitor approved services to ensure compliance and to provide support and promote continuous improvement


  • Services are better supported to understand the requirements to maintain compliance with the National Law


We conducted 330 monitoring visits during this period. A monitoring visit to a service can be made for a range of purposes, including identified or emerging risks. A range of interventions, strategies and targeted campaigns are used to support and educate services to achieve improvements and compliance. Monitoring services supports compliance with the regulatory framework and enhances public confidence in their operations.

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Promote compliance with the law and engage effectively with the ECS sector


  • Reduction in the number of education and care services that are rated as Working Towards the National Quality Standard (rather than Meeting NQS)

At 30 June 2019 there were 205 education and care services rated as Working Towards, compared to 282 at 30 June 2018.

To support providers and services understand the standards we allocated resources to facilitate a range of engagement sessions. In addition, and at the request of providers, we offered specific sessions for approved providers to clarify requirements for compliance with particular parts of the law and regulations.

The open dialogue in these sessions leads to greater understanding for all participants. Providers develop a better understanding of the requirements of the National Quality Framework. We gain insight into the issues and pressures facing providers.

In addition, we actively promoted compliance with the National Law during our investigation work. This included providing advice and guidance to approved providers.

Where we identified that a compliance issue may be relevant to other services too, we communicated about the issue via our newsletter and website.


Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Assess and rate early childhood services against the National Quality Standard

  • 100% of eligible education and care services assessed and rated (or as close to 100% as possible)


All eligible services are assessed and rated within 12 months of commencing operations. As at 30 June 2019, 99.3% of eligible services have a quality rating (or 95% of all services). See table 1.

The National Quality Standard provides indicators that are used to rate the quality of a service across a broad range of areas including their educational program, health and safety, relationships with children and leadership.

When services are assigned a quality rating they can compare their rating with other services and use the rating to consider which aspects of their service they plan to improve.

Families, when choosing a service to use, can refer to the ratings as a factor in deciding which service they prefer.

The public can have confidence in the operation of education and early childhood service providers.

Table 1: Number of *services by type and percentage of totals with a finalised
quality rating


Long day care

Preschool

Out-of-school-
hours care

Family day care

Totals

% with an assessment & rating

2015–16

352

404

375

37


1168

55%

2016–17


361

403

376

31

1171

81%

2017–18


387

394

376

15

1172

91%

2018–19


395

407

379

12

1193

95%

*Early childhood services become eligible to be assessed and rated 12 months after commencing operations. At the end of the period, 99.3% of eligible services had a quality rating but 95% of all services had a quality rating.

Table 2: Number* (and percentage^) of services at each quality rating of the
National Quality Standard

Year

Working Towards

Meeting

Exceeding

Excellent

2015–16

211

33%

154

24%

269

42%

8

2016–17

290

31%

222

23%

432

46%

5

2017–18

282

26%

262

25%

515

48%

7

2018–19

205

18%

370

33%

545

48%

8


*The total number of services with a rating has increased each year as services have been rated for the first time. The total number should be more stable in future, since over 99% of eligible services have now been rated.

^The trend is that more services are Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard.

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Take action if providers are not operating in compliance with the law


  • Conduct investigations when breaches of the Education and Care Services National Law (South Australia) are reported, suspected or identified

  • Carry out a risk assessment for notifications within 24 hours of receiving them

  • Take action when breaches of the National Law have been confirmed

During 2018–19, our compliance actions included the cancellation of two provider approvals and three associated service approvals at long day care services. These actions were not taken lightly but resulted from evidence of practices that constituted an unacceptable risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children.

Approved providers are required to notify us of changes to the operation of their services and incidents that affect children. Table 3 shows an increase in the number of notifications by providers. This increase was an outcome of targeted stakeholder engagement and education informing providers of their obligations under the legislation.

Investigations have decreased in number. When appropriate, matters are now referred back to approved providers and services to be dealt with in accordance with their complaint management policies. We maintain oversight and may intervene if necessary.

Table 4 shows a decrease in the number of suspensions and cancellations of provider and service approvals. This positive outcome was achieved through an increase in our educative role, informing the sector of what is required to be compliant. Our regulatory approach ensures that action we take in response to non-compliance is proportionate to the level of risk and the provider’s capability and willingness to comply and improve.

On average, we assess 36 notifications, complaints and other submissions each week. We conduct risk assessments within 24 hours of receiving a notification to ensure the most serious are prioritised and allocated to investigators.

Table 3: Notifications, complaints and investigations

 

Notifications

Complaints

Investigations

2015–16

1238

347

299

2016–17

1537

332

335

2017–18

1348

277

400

2018–19

1599

267

319

Table 4: Regulatory action taken against educators, providers and services

 

Issue of prohibition notice (educators)

Suspensions (providers and services)

Cancellations (providers and services)

2015–16

6

8

8

2016–17

10

11

6

2017–18

1

10

91

2018–19

1

2

2

Note: For the period 2017–2018, a significant number of providers and services were cancelled due to their not commencing operation within a 12-month period (as required by the National Law).

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Contribute to the National Quality Framework (NQF) Review 2019

  • Contribute to the consultation process

  • Identify issues to be included in the review

  • Contribute to policy positions on issues that may become part of the review


In collaboration with the Department for Education, seven consultation sessions were presented across city and regional locations. Parents, service providers and educators attended. The majority of participants were from long day care and out-of-school-hours-care services. One meeting focused on the views of peak bodies. However other service types, including some that are currently out of the scope of the current National Law, were represented. People could also respond in writing or complete an online survey.

The information collected will be considered in the development of a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (CRIS) later in 2019. This statement will present possible options for changes to improve the National Law. The comments received will influence any decisions.

We also worked closely with the Department for Education to develop agreement between all the Australian governments on which options should be included for discussion in the CRIS.


Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Register schools


  • Number of schools registered by school type

  • Number of successful applications for new schools


At 30 June 2019 there were 723 schools registered: 513 government, 108 Independent and 102 Catholic.

There were seven registrations of new schools during the year.

An Independent for-profit school was eligible for registration on the Schools Register and endorsed on CRICOS.

Schools are registered once they meet the Standards for registration and review of registration.

Registration gives families confidence that the instruction offered is satisfactory and the school adequately provides for the safety, health and welfare of its students.

See tables 5 and 6, below.

Table 5: Registered schools by sector


2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

Government

529

525

519

514

513

Independent

96

100

103

102

108

Catholic

104

103

103

102

102

Totals

729

728

725

718

723

Table 6: Schools in SA as of 30 June 2019


Primary

Secondary

Combined

Totals

Non-government

102

29

79

210

Government

354

71

88

513

Totals

456

100

167

723

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Maintain the Schools Register

  • Number of changes to the register

  • Types of registration changes or registration activity

We maintain the Schools Register, comprising government and non-government schools. There were 104 applications from registered schools seeking changes to the Schools Register during 2018–19.

Conditions on registration were placed on three schools. These were lifted during the reporting period. All schools were able to fully meet the Standards for registration and review of registration of schools in South Australia and commence delivery of education services.

Two schools were removed from the Schools Register on application of the school, in accordance with s. 46 (1a) of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011 (SA).

Thirty-six Catholic primary schools changed registration from R–7 to R–6 as part of the Catholic Education’s ‘Year 7s into high school’ strategy.



Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Review the registration of schools

  • Number of schools reviewed since July 2018 by sector

  • Number of schools meeting the Standards for registration and review of registration of schools in South Australia


All schools have ongoing registration, and from this a sample of 17 schools had their registration reviewed in 2018–19. These were seven government and 10 non-government schools. (See table 7, below.) Twelve of the schools were in metropolitan Adelaide and five were in country or rural SA.

All of these schools met the Standards for registration and review of registration of schools in SA. (This is a requirement of ongoing registration for every school.)

We provided guidance and support to each school undergoing a review.

Table 7: Reviews of registration: number and type of schools (school sector)


Government

Catholic

Independent

Primary

4

1

1

Secondary

1

1

2

Combined

2

2

3

Total: 17

7

4

6

Agency objective

Indicators

Performance

Endorse registered schools for registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)

  • Number of schools endorsed for registration on CRICOS

  • Number of changes made to PRISMS (Provider Registration and International Student Management System) database


A total of 175 schools are endorsed for registration on CRICOS, including one new school in 2018–19.

There were 150 changes made to PRISMS. Of these, 85% were for government schools.

Only schools approved on CRICOS can offer education to overseas students.


Table 8: SA schools approved on CRICOS register


Government

Non-government

Total

Primary

60

0

60

Secondary

56

12

68

Combined

19

28

47

Totals

135

40

175

Corporate performance summary

Corporate services highlights for the year included:


Employment opportunity programs

Program name

Performance

Nil

n/a

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development system

Performance

Employees take part in a formal performance management and development discussion with their manager twice a year.

During 2018–19, 100% of employees participated in a documented performance management and development review in the previous six months. These reviews inform the planning of professional development and training of staff.

Work health, safety and return to work programs

Program name

Performance

Work health and safety management

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee is the main way we work with employees to address WHS issues. We also have an Emergency Wardens Committee.

We provide the following services to staff:

  • influenza vaccinations

  • ergonomic workplace assessments (including access to online self-assessment guidance)

  • employee assistance program (see below)

  • information about workplace safety and wellbeing.

This year, managers completed mental-health first-aid training. This has helped them become more aware of how to recognise and respond to mental-health issues in the workplace. In addition, all staff attended a session on resilience run by a psychologist.

Training provided to all wardens and WHS committee members during the year included:

  • emergency skills procedures training

  • emergency evacuation exercise training.

Employee assistance program

Staff can access an employee assistance program provided by Converge International. This entitles them and their family members to a number of free confidential sessions with a psychologist, social worker, financial counsellor or dietician. This is to encourage good mental and physical health for our employees and their families.

Injury management

Staff have access to our work health and safety:

  • policies and procedures

  • training programs.

One incident was reported by staff during 2018–19, but this incident was not notifiable.

Workplace injury claims

2018–19

2017–18

% Change
(+ / -)

Total new workplace injury claims

0

0

0

Fatalities

0

0

0

Seriously injured workers*

0

0

0

Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1000 FTE)

0

0

0

*number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)

Work health and safety regulations

2018–19

2017–18

% Change
(+ / -)

Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3)

0

0

0

Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195 )

0

0

0

Return to work costs**

2018–19

2017–18

% Change
(+ / -)

Total gross workers compensation expenditure ($)

0

0

0

Income support payments – gross ($)

0

0

0

**before third party recovery


Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/e13b1dec-f2c8-40db-a559-25ba739b432d.

Executive employment in the agency

Executive classification

Number of executives

Common Law Contract (not South Australian Executive Service)

1


Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/2bd8e6b1-18aa-434f-a729-f7f4b0b47ee4.

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Financial performance

Financial performance at a glance

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2018–19 are attached to this report.

Statement of Comprehensive Income

2018–19 Budget

$000s

2018–19 Actual

$000s

Variation

$000s


2017 18 Actual

$000s

Expenses

5,322

5,347

25

5,782

Revenues

469

506

37

2,101

Net cost of providing services

4,853

4,841

12

3,681

Net Revenue from SA Government

4,853

4,853

0

3,686

Net result

0

12

12

5

Total Comprehensive Result

0

12

12

5

Statement of Financial Position

2018–19 Budget

$000s

2018–19 Actual

$000s

Variation

$000s


2017-18 Actual

$000s

Current assets

3,483

3,826

343

3,483

Non-current assets

0

0

0

0

Total assets

3,483

3,826

343

3,483

Current liabilities

1,508

1,839

331

1,508

Non-current liabilities

0

0

0

0

Total liabilities

1,508

1,839

331

1,508

Net assets

1,975

1,987

12

1,975

Equity

1,975

1,987

12

1,975

Consultants disclosure

The following is a summary of external consultants that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken, and the actual payments made for the work undertaken during the financial year.

Consultancies with a contract value below $10 000 each

Consultancies

Purpose

$ Actual payment

Nil to report

n/a

n/a

Consultancies with a contract value above $10 000 each

Consultancies

Purpose

$ Actual payment

Nil to report

n/a

n/a


Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/8e232a72-7e92-401d-8dc2-c8264c7082a6.

See also the Consolidated Financial Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance for total value of consultancy contracts across the South Australian Public Sector.

Contractors disclosure

The following is a summary of external contractors that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken, and the actual payments made for work undertaken during the financial year.

Contractors with a contract value below $10 000

Contractors

Purpose

$ Actual payment

All contractors below $10,000 each (combined)

Various

$30 630

Contractors with a contract value above $10 000 each

Contractors

Purpose

$ Actual payment

Bonita Kennedy

Record management

$18 485

Captovate Pty Ltd

Website management

$13 840

Diverse Information Solutions

Record management

$24 375

Empired Limited

ICT maintenance and support

$61 040

Ernst & Young

Auditing services

$21 560

Michelle Lyon-Green Consulting

HR projects and workshop

$10 910


Total

$150 210


Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/90771d4a-2b71-42f2-b09e-207014e161b2.

The details of South Australian Government-awarded contracts for goods, services, and works are displayed on the SA Tenders and Contracts website. View the agency list of contracts.

The website also provides details of across government contracts.

Other information

Nil to report

Risk management

Risk and audit at a glance

Nil to report

Fraud detected in the agency

Category/nature of fraud

Number of instances

The ESB did not identify any instances of fraud in the agency during 2018–19.

0

NB: Fraud reported includes actual and reasonably suspected incidents of fraud.

Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

The ESB has robust internal fraud control and prevention procedures. These include:

The ESB has never had an incident of fraud. However, internal processes are assessed and reviewed regularly, and regular checks are done as part of everyday and/or monthly procedures.

Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/0cc29c9c-0347-4677-bcd1-92a7521ed5fa.

Whistle-blowers disclosure

Number of occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993:

0

Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/d01c60f5-ad9c-46a4-bcd8-69247e52c99f.

Reporting required under any other act or regulation

Act or Regulation

Requirement

Nil required

n/a

Reporting required under the Carers’ Recognition Act 2005

Nil to report, as this is not applicable to the Education Standards Board.



Public complaints

Number of public complaints reported

The ESB is not aware of any complaints but did receive some informal positive feedback during the year. We have set up a system to collect complaints, feedback (positive and negative) and any resulting service improvements for 2019-20.

Data for previous years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/695438da-89cc-4f58-b99c-363538c625bc.